Today I had the honor and pleasure of working side by side with 50 other volunteers in support of Monster Help Day. While there were lots of incredible efforts going on throughout the company for worthwhile causes, as the executive sponsor of the military support group here at AOL, I felt it right to participate in our large scale effort to support our men and women in the armed services.
For those of you unfamiliar with Monster Help Day, it is a companywide day of service for all employees worldwide. It is an all employee-inspired initiative and represents AOL’s commitment to helping people and continuing to hold a meaningful place in their lives. This year, more than 3,000 AOL employees will donate over 20,000 hours of service to more than 40 charities. By providing support to charitable organizations and local communities, AOL reinforces its core values and empowers its employees with rewarding experiences. And to top it off, its not just for employees. AOL will also be giving consumers the opportunity to show support for causes close to their hearts. For every visitor to monsterhelp.aol.com who posts an update from their Twitter account using the tweet button provided, AOL will donate 26 cents, in honor of AOL’s 26th year, to the Monster Help Day charity of their choice. So hurry up, you still have plenty of hours left to support your favorite cause.
In my group, there were tables for writing cards, filling care packages filled with lots of goodies from home ranging from snacks, to common things our soldiers generally miss from home. Stations were building boxes, wrapping batteries for shipment, filling out customs forms, folding t-shirts, and if I can get away with a pun – it all seemed to run with military efficiency. Perhaps one of the most powerful moments for me came when Sydney Murphy, our lead recruiter and primary organizer of the event asked for the volunteers to introduce themselves and perhaps a little of why they chose this event over the many other worthwhile events.
The room listened as everyone in the room told their stories. Those stories ranged from people who came just to help out and support our troops with no connection to the military, to those who have served, to those who have had family serve, to military brats -all grown up-, to quite a few who had children and family currently serving abroad.
There was an almost electric energy in the room as people went about their tasks and the entire area was abuzz with activity. One of the items that was packed in every box was a special moisture-wicking t-shirt that we thought might be of use in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and hope they get some good use.
Today was one of those days where you get to see some of those traits that has made AOL the company it is today. The dedication and effort by all was definitely inspiring.
To all our armed men and women in the military I would like to profoundly thank you for your service and wish you the best and ultimately a safe landing here at home.